DBC rocks – Chat with AG Bell Parents part I

Note: voice over on the video and text summary below

vlog re: chat with AG Bell parents – gives a third reason why the DBC conference rocked for me – dialogue with AG Bell parents

NOTE: at each of the AG Bell Association conferences (state and national) – DBC members were systematically restricted from having direct access and/or contact AG Bell Association attendees

Vlog discusses chat with one hearing mom from the AG Bell Association convention who came over after the Sunday rally and was listening to the interpreter voicing for two DBC media reps as they were interviewed by a newspaper reporter. The woman said “not true, not true” when over hearing some of the statements by DE and Barb so David Reynolds (DBC core member) and i approached her to see if she had any questions or wanted clarification.

When I approached her she threw up her hands and said “I don’t understand sign language” with a look of disgust. David Reynolds talked and signed to her. She had thought the DBC reps were saying that AG Bell association is against ASL when rather they were saying that AG Bell association does not allow for informed choices because they do not explain the value of bilingualism and instead focus on speaking and listening education only.

She explained that she does not support ASL because she does not want her son (15 years old with CI) to need an interpreter when he goes to a restaurant.

Wow that was an eye opener

i discovered i had some myths about AG Bell association – i thought they came off very strong to parents against ASL but seems that most of the folks said no that is not accurate. Although some say that speech, audiologist, specialists, and AG Bell reps at times discourage parents for learning sign so the child wont be dependent on it etc. Through talking with the mom i realized they have some myths about us. We explained that many Deaf folks can talk like David and myself can. Amongst the rally crowd there were many people who could talk and for those who can’t or choose not to they can totally make themselves understood in a restaurant. They do NOT need to bring an interpreter with them to order food. I realized she had not seen what Deaf adult signers are capable of doing before – WOW!

I went back to watching the interview with the reporters and noticed another woman there with an AG Bell badge and asked if she had any questions – she said yes and we got an interpreter and started chatting. She was very warm and receptive and wanted to understand things. She explained that she was surprised to see the DBC reps say that they are not protesting against CI but rather advocating for bilingualism. She had gotten the impression that the rally was about protesting CI – it didnt seem she got that idea via the media but rather from folks talking at the convention. She wanted to talk to us about bilingualism and her daughter, who is five with bilaterial cochlear implants. She expressed concerns that learning ASL would be hard on her daughter as she already has to invest so much in learning spoken language and listening skills. She explained that her daughter is at a reading level of a 10 year old. I remarked that this was an exceptional kid and her reading abilities were probably more about her IQ and parental involvement than her CI. Hearing five year olds who can speak and hear fully do not normally read at the level of a 10 year old unless they are exceptional. I foresee no problem with her daughter picking up ASL.

part II coming soon

Big thanks to the parents who ventured over to chat with us and for DBC for picking their conference to happen simultaneously during the AG Bell Convention to afford this space for an exchange between non-signing parents and folks who support bilingualism


Patti Durr


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DR Hocokan
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 07:31:50

    DR Hocokan

    I have removed your comment here. the People of the Eye comment section is not to be used for libel

    I wish you peace

    Patti Durr

  2. DR Hocokan
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 09:13:29

    Libel did not occur. You obviously do not want to hear the full truth. It’s simply unfortunate.

  3. Benno
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 15:49:08

    Why was my comment deleted? I didn’t use bad words, nor did I write off topic.

  4. Benno
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 17:15:22

    Forgot about my previous comment. pdurr: can you please delete my both comments of this thread? Thanks.

  5. pdurr
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 17:49:31

    Hi Benno

    I hadn’t deleted ur comment which appears under http://blog.deafread.com/pote/2008/07/06/dbc-rocks-part-ii-chat-with-parent/

    i was just delayed in approving it due to my being out and about all day today. Its a very important comment so i hope folks will check it out. Sorry for the delay in it getting posted. Some times wordpress requires comments to be approve while other times they are automatically posted

    thanks for corresponding with me via email that u later understood it was a technical thing



  6. anna s
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 19:35:27

    More please, I am already addicted to your stories about meeting AGBell parents!

  7. Jean Boutcher
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 20:46:43

    I hope that someone did videotape the talks between you and some parents who were affiliated with AGB whilst you were in Milwaukee. Documens are important as a witness for DeafRead viewers.

  8. cnkatz
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 20:49:19


    This is important because your posts are the tangible result of the DBC, educating parents – getting the message across.

    What you have encountered is a classic situation between hearing parents and the deaf community. As an educator of the deaf and member of the deaf community, I come across many parents like both mothers.

    If there is no organization like DBC exists today, the WHEEL of classic parents like what you have portrayed will continue to revolve on and on raising deaf children based on their natural audi-centric tendencies, generation to generation.

    With the DBC (and other future organizations) is the beginning of braking this troublesome wheel from moving. Your post is one indication, and part of much more in the future, that we need to put more braking that insidious wheel by getting the “truth” across to new parents of deaf children and to the general public about their audistic tendencies in raising their deaf children.

    Patti, good job. I was planning to go to AGBell convention to present a workshop. Their criteria for their papers/workshops discouraged me as my topic did not meet their criteria. I wanted to meet parents and talk with them. Now I feel you did the job for me. I felt so good seeing this post!

    Peace and more peace – shalom,


  9. pdurr
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 07:04:23

    anna – me very excited to share too. i definitely felt very rejuvenated coming back from DBC. i got alot of other “to dos” to do this week so will see when i can vlog again soon about presenters, kids, and blue ribbon. it takes me a HUGE amount of time to vlog – cuz i HATE seeing myself on the screen

    jean – mais oui – documents r very important. i dont think anyone videotaped the exchange between the parents and the remaining rally folks but there was some videotaping of the reporter interviewing the DBC media reps so maybe that will go out soon

    really DBC is to be commended in posting all the real video they have from the rally, conference etc – ithat is very time consuming work to video, edit, compress upload – UGH

    i was totally impressed by DBC’s “of by and for” the people stance

    i attend alot of academic conferences and there are a ton of rules about videotaping and posting and costs and fees and badges and interpreter hassles

    the dbc conference was:
    open to all
    had interpreters provided
    great lighting
    allowed folks to videotape as pleased
    will share Power Pointss from presenters i believe

    i could go on and on – really amazing stuff – i have never seen anything so collaboratively and peacefully and joyfully organized

    just a note – it might have been uncomfortable for the moms if they were being videotaped while we chatted so im glad no one really was there that i saw sticking a camera into the discourse. pls note i am all for VIDEO and DOCUMENTING stuff big time but i also have a sense of reverence at times – some things can not nor should they try to be captured – they r for LIVE face to face exchanges.

    so in case there was in fact no video of those talks – this is why i vlogged as a form of documentation. it is noted that it comes from my lens, pov, hands and heart so it is not a primary document and thus a bit less reliable

    ck – yes it is very important to have more hearts to hearts with parents. i do not really blame parents for their first instinct being to making my child as hearing like as possible. i understand that inclination due to the lack of any contact with Deaf folks and what they are capable of doing and because the media still does not represent Deaf folks accurately and authentically and because there is a huge crazy mix up of who and what Deaf folks are even within the Deaf community as a result of colonization – this is why i embrace the notion that the parents are trying to do what is best and right for their children but they are not fully informed

    it is fascinating to me that in the other conversations i have had with parents in the past – they immediately and repeatedly explain why they got CIs for their kids and go at lengths to explain the benefits but in the same breath they keep bringing it up even though i say “that is fine. I believe u. I trust u. I understand u. I am glad it has worked out for u” but they keep bringing it up i think for two reasons:
    1. they want assurance that we do not hate them or their child – to this is say – YES I WILL NEVER REJECT U OR UR CHILD

    this is huge and the parents need to hear and see it from us

    they are loved. we should not be making faces at their kids in walmart or confronting them or calling them child abusers because – they are not the problem

    2. i sense some parents are actually unsettled about their decision to implant their child – they are a bit squirming inside. a bit hmmmm did i miss something, are we missing out on something

    WOW WOW WOW – that is so hard to look at. that is so hard to examine

    most folks would run for the corner – “CI are the best and the right thing to do and a must and the future and…. or the other end CI failed and ..”

    but i actually see many doing the opposite – they are asking how and why and who will help me

    it really is beautiful to see

    im a bit sad because we dont have a big corporation behind us to give them glossy brochures and point them to a whole extensive network of folks who will help them – bring bilingualism into their homes, cover the cost of special ASL immersion experiences etc but i tell myself – dont worry about that just offer what u have – ur love



  10. Diane
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 19:07:46

    A good blog here .. Allow AGB parents meet the half way to learn about the DBC’s approach. It is the first big step. We have to remind ourselves to friendly with AGB parents. Same for them too.

    One Day At A Time ….

  11. Barb DiGi
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 00:29:18

    You are an angel in disguise! Bless you and thank you for so being there!

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